Language Learning Blog | Rocket Languages

Bonjour tout le monde

As you may know, we released the Android version of the Rocket Languages app a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately the iOS app took a little longer to develop, but it’s here now!

The app should automatically update for everyone who already has it installed. If you don’t already have it then please get it from here.

Get the new Rocket iOS app here!I stated all the major changes in the post about the Android app. Nevertheless, I will repeat the key info here:

What’s included?

  • Your Dashboard and Ratings
  • All of the Interactive Audio lessons
  • All of the Language and Culture lessons
  • All of the Writing lessons (for those languages that have them)
  • All of the Tests for these lessons; i.e. Hear it Say it!, Write it!, Know it!, Play it! and the Quiz
  • Requires iOS 7.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

What’s new?

  • A completely new and more user friendly interface and design
  • The ability to record and playback
  • The addition of all the Tests

And here’s a review of the app from Rocket Spanish member: Robert

The Spanish mobile app keeps getting better I just received the new update in the past couple of days and I have to say, “GREAT”. I use the mobile app almost exclusively for my Spanish learning and it just keeps improving. Now that the record function works in “Play It” I am loving that testing. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep improving a great program.

    Robert Gupton

And also, as per the Android app, if you like the iOS app please leave a review in iTunes!

À bientôt !

Jason Oxenham.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Bonjour tout le monde !

rl-icon-180px

Exciting news! We have completely re-imagined our Android app from the ground up. While it’s a little overdue from our intended release date it is now here and available in the Google Play store.

Just click here to go to the Rocket Languages app in the Play store

What’s included?

  • Your Dashboard and Ratings
  • All of the Interactive Audio lessons
  • All of the Language and Culture lessons
  • All of the Writing lessons (for those languages that have them)
  • All of the Tests for these lessons; i.e. Hear it Say it!, Write it!, Know it!, Play it! and the Quiz
  • Compatibility for Android 4.0 and above

What’s new?

  • A completely new and more user friendly interface and design
  • The ability to record and playback
  • The addition of all the Tests
  • And most importantly it’s a lot less “buggy”!

What’s next?

Over the next few months we will look at adding:

  • Forum access
  • My Badges
  • My Toolbox

What about iOS?

The iOS app will be updated before the end of the month. We will let you know when it is out!

What can you do to help us help you?

As you probably realize building an app takes time and resources, especially with complex and in-depth courses like the Rocket Languages courses. For us to continue the good work, and keep things like the app free for our members all that we ask is that you take the time to spread the good word.

Download the app, try it out and if you like it PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE REVIEW IT!

Just go here to download the app and review it, or cut and paste this link into your browser:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rocketlanguages.app

Amicalement

Jason Oxenham
CEO
Rocket Languages Ltd

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Hi there again Language Lovers,

023.-C.-S.-LewisToday’s blog post is brought to you by the letter R:

  1. R is for Russian
  2. R is for Reviews

First of all, Russian.

We’ve just started work on the newest addition to the Rocket Languages suite of languages, Rocket Russian.

This time around we’re looking at doing things a little differently.

In other courses the Interactive Audio Lessons have been front and center as the main teaching tool. For Rocket Russian we’re unleashing the Travelogue instead, where you follow a couple on their visit to Russia. Each lesson gives you the chance to see the Russian language used in a number of different situations, from arriving at the airport, finding your luggage, and dealing with customs, to using public transport, seeing the sights, and shopping.

So, instead of looking at one conversation in depth each lesson, you get to listen to a range of different realistic conversations.

We’re really excited about Rocket Russian. If you’re interested in finding out how things are progressing you can join our mailing list. Every week or two you’ll be updated on where we’re up to, and, once it’s all ready to launch, you’ll get a special Early Bird deal.

You can join the mailing list here.

Secondly, I’m pleased to announce that we recently ticked over our one thousandth review of Rocket Languages courses.

That means that over a thousand people have now taken the time to head on over to our reviews page and tell us just what they think of us. Stuff like this:

Rocket Languages is a fun way to learn. Hearing it in actual conversation and learning tidbits about it is very helpful. I also like the typing and talking. Having so many ways to practice it makes it stick in your head better.

Diane Dudzik. AR, USA

And this:

After numerous app downloads and other spanish teaching techniques I finally found something that I’m seeing progress with, Rocket Spanish. RS is much more thorough than the app approach to learning, with building blocks of real life sentences and structure. I’ve improved my dialect and most importantly my “ear” for spanish has improved.

Max Knebel. FL, USA

It’s really pleasing to see that over 82% of reviewers give us 5 stars, and over 96% give us 4 or 5 stars. We must be doing something right.

To see more reviews, or add one of your own, visit our reviews page.

And while I’m on the subject of reviews, if you love Rocket Languages get on over to our Facebook page, review us, and give us some stars. Every little bit helps make your favorite language learning team into the world’s favorite language learning team…

Happy language learning,

Phil and the team at Rocket Languages.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Hola, Ciao, and Salut Language Lovers,

Easter EggsEaster is nearly upon us again, and for a large number of people in the US that means one of two things: either a very important Christian celebration, or a very important chocolate celebration.

In the Christian tradition Easter is a time to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. However there are many aspects of our current Easter celebrations that pre-date Christianity.

Some say that Easter got its name from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of spring. Back then, at about this time of year, many people celebrated the end of winter and the new life brought about by the improving weather. With all the new shoots and leaves, as well as the birth of new animals and livestock, it’s easy to see how such a time could be one of celebration after the travails of winter.

It could be that this is also where chocolate lovers’ favorite Easter things originate from. Rabbits and Hares have long been a symbol of fertility and of new life. What better figure to characterize a time of rebirth than that of a Bunny.

And as for easter eggs, there are a couple of ideas about them too. The most obvious is the link between eggs and fertility; the egg as a symbol of new life was common across ancient cultures. Ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans all used eggs as a part of their spring festivals.

The second idea has a basis in Christianity.

Back in the Medieval Europe it was forbidden to eat eggs during Lent. As a result, eggs produced during that time were often boiled or preserved in some way, and became a very important part of the Easter meal once Lent had finished. So eggs became a key element of Easter.

In cultural terms, different things go on in different parts of the world at this time of year…

In Norway they have what they call Paaskekrim, or Easter-crime. No, it’s not an excuse to break the law, it’s the tradition of reading a crime novel or watching a detective show on TV over the Easter break.

In Corfu, Greece, on the other hand, there’s a tradition of throwing earthenware pots, pans, and other containers out of windows so they smash on the street. Apparently this stems from an old Venetian custom of throwing out all their old stuff in the spring time. A new spin on spring-cleaning?

In the town of Verges in Spain they celebrate easter with the traditional Dansa de la Mort or Dance of Death. In this slightly macabre custom people dress up like skeletons and dance through the streets. One for the night owls among us, this parade begins at midnight and lasts until the wee small hours of the morning.

While in Bermuda they take a more relaxed approach, celebrating Good Friday by flying kites. The story goes that the only way a Christian teacher could think of to explain how Jesus ascended to heaven to a group of children was to make a kite and fly it. Very nice.

As you can see Easter means different things to different people. However, no matter where you are in the world Easter is a great time to take stock, observe the change of seasons, and look ahead to what the rest of your year has in store for you.

Just a thought, perhaps now would be a good time to start learning a new language too…

If  you’re interested you can get a great deal over the Easter weekend. Just visit the Rocket Languages home page from April 18 to find out more.

Happy Easter from the team at Rocket Languages.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Salut tout le monde

As you probably know by now, here at Rocket Languages we are all about maximizing your language learning time, so that you get the most effective learning possible in the shortest time. Certainly, the recently released Play it! falls into this category.

What is equally important with language learning is sticking at it! To make the most progress it’s imperative that you do some learning on a regular basis, even if it’s only a few minutes a day. After all… how do you eat an elephant? One (regular) bite at a time!

That’s where My Rocket Scheduler comes in…

If you check your Dashboard you will see My Rocket Scheduler at the top of the page:

My Scheduler on your Dashboard

My Rocket Scheduler is a motivational tool that uses the “don’t break the chain” method to help you form good learning habits. Each day you use any feature to gain points, the current day on the Scheduler will turn green!

Over time you will get into the rhythm of doing some language learning every day. And you will be able to see the length of your longest streak and your current active streak.

If you have set days that you wish to learn then just click Settings to select those days.

An important point! Please use Settings to select your correct time zone, so that days and points are accurate. If you are heading overseas you can change this to suit your new time zone.

If you decide that you don’t want to use My Rocket Scheduler then you can hide it by clicking the “close” icon on the Scheduler itself. You can always get it back by going to My Profile.

Hot tip! Set the Dashboard as the default page on your browser, so that every day you are reminded to keep the streak going!

All the best with your language learning!

Jason Oxenham
CEO
Rocket Languages

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Bonjour tout le monde (Hello everyone)

Hooray for Play It!

Celebrating the launch of Play It!

After over 6 months of development, I am excited to announce a brand new learning tool that has been added to your Rocket Languages course. You are probably already familiar with the Testing section, and the tests like Hear it Say it!, Write it! and Know it!. Well, now we have a new test for the Interactive Audio Course (IAC) Lessons… Play it!

Play it! utilizes the role play tracks from the IAC lessons in a way that is designed to get you speaking out loud and get you really thinking on your feet. What’s more, once you have used Play it! for a while, you will notice that your conversational ability will increase markedly. Over time the sentence structures and the ability to recite those common phrases become second nature.

I would like to send a thank you to all of our beta-testers. We enlisted quite a few existing Rocket Languages members to act as beta-testers, and their suggestions have made Play it! much better than we originally had it.

In fact, here are some comments about play it! from one of those beta-testers, Cathy…

Play it is an enhancement to the other Tests currently in use by Rocket languages as teaching and learning tools. What this test does is to enable the student to immerse him or herself in conversation. Immersion is a proven way to really internalize a language. By repetition, we become more and more confident… more and more able and willing to actively participate in role playing thus acquiring the accents, and inflections of the native speaker..

It is a self paced format. No one is over our shoulder pressuring us  or criticizing us. We are our own judges of our competency level. The grammar and vocabulary used have been consistently taught throughout the course. We are now able to find pride at the ease with which we see ourselves fully understanding the sentences.

From my own personal experiences in learning  a foreign language prior to Rocket Languages, I found that immersion coupled with extensive knowledge of grammar and vocabulary allowed me to become a native speaker very quickly.

Play it! is in this school of thought. We are immersed in conversation. We are using the vocabulary and grammar learned previously and we are now able to reap the fruits of our efforts with Play it!. We are playing the role of a native speaker. We can fall back at any given time on the recording to adjust our accents and inflections. All in the privacy of wherever we choose to be at any given time. Best of all as I have mentioned with no pressure. It simply cannot get any better  than that!

Kindly

Cathy W 

So, as you can see, our beta-testers loved the concept. So, what are you waiting for? Just head into any Interactive Audio Course lesson and give it a go!

Actually before you go, a couple of words of warning!

1. You will need a headset/headphones to use Play it! properly

2. We currently use Flash to drive Play it! And the Flash set up is different to that used in Rocket Record. So, if you have any issues using Play it! please click the green “Help” button in the Play it! section.

All the best with your language learning

Jason Oxenham
CEO
Rocket Languages

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Nihao, Anyoung, and Hallo Language Lovers,

iStock_000009721455MediumSo, how to do you learn best?

Did you even know that there’s more than one way?

Because the fact is that we’re all different, and we all learn stuff a little differently from each other.

Here at Rocket Languages we work hard to make sure we give all our learners the best chance possible to learn the language they love.

That’s why a big part of our Rocket Express Learning System® is Neil Fleming’s VARK model.

What’s a VARK I hear you say. No, it’s not the sound of a dog with a speech impediment, nor is it the name of an obscure Arctic bird. In fact the VARK model is a theory discovered by a teacher named Neil Fleming that asserts that all people use a combination of four basic learning styles to learn anything.

The word VARK is an acronym that stands for:

Visual
Auditory
Read/write
Kinesthetic

If you’re a visual learner you learn best by seeing how things are done, by watching demonstrations, or by looking at graphs and images.

Auditory learners, on the other hand, learn best by hearing information. These learners do the best in situations like lectures, or by listening to audio tracks etc…

Learners that favor Reading and Writing are usually great note takers. They do well when they can read information in a book, in a handout, or on a screen, then paraphrase it for themselves.

Finally Kinesthetic learners are the doers. These people really thrive when they can get their hands dirty and have a go at whatever it is their learning. In fact, just moving about while the lesson is happening is often enough for the learning to stick.

Perhaps the key thing about the VARK model is that it’s reasonably rare for anyone to be just one type of learner. Most of us use a combination of all, but have a preference for one or two in particular.

That’s why any learning program worth it’s salt, like all Rocket Languages courses, will include a variety of activities and presentation methods. Because, even if you favor one learning style, there will be times when you need a change. And considering multiple learning styles when you design a course means that you can reach the widest range of learners possible.

So next time you’re thinking of learning something, have a close look at the course content:

  • Are there a variety of ways to learn?
  • Do they teach the way you learn best?
  • Will you get bored quickly by doing the same stuff over and over again?

And to find out more about your personal learning style head here.

Happy Language Learning

The Rocket Languages Team

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Bonjour, Ciao, and Konnichiwa Language Lovers,

1662It’s Thanksgiving weekend, but for many it’s not so much about giving thanks as it is about trying to find the best deals possible at the start of the holiday season…. For many retailers it’s all about those big sales days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and offering deals so they make as many sales as possible.

The language learning niche is no different. All the providers are having sales, making deals, and offering all sorts of low prices and added value. Which is great for those who are ready to take the plunge into a whole new world of language and culture, and already have an idea about the learning system they want.

Some things don’t change though, they just get cheaper…

Regardless of how well priced a learning system is, if it doesn’t suit your learning style, if it isn’t comprehensive, then it’s not money well spent.

So lets have a look at what makes a good online learning system.

Now, you may say that we’re biased, and we are to an extent. We certainly believe that what we offer is the best of the best. But I’m not interested in comparing companies and what they have to offer, I want to look at what works for language learners just like you.

There’s long been a basic philosophical disagreement about whether immersion or other methods work best. The argument goes something like this:

As children we learn to speak our native language by being immersed in it. There is no prompting, there are no explanations, you learn by trial and error, and by copying others.

And that’s true, as far as it goes.

By extension that means the best way to pick up a second language is to live, eat, sleep, and breathe it. Which is all very well if you have the money and the time to go live somewhere that speaks the language. Even then, I’ve heard that it’s a very hard row to hoe, full of stress, and loneliness.

And you can’t really do true immersion in your own, English speaking community.

Another school of thought is that the best way to learn is to take lessons and classes that give you step by step instructions about how to speak a language. You know, learning by rote, like we did with the times tables at school…

The problem with that approach is the lack of real native language speakers giving you feedback. The exact thing that makes immersion work well.

So, some sort of hybrid is in order, a way to learn from native speakers, and get good feedback, without having to break the bank traveling, or get all lonely and depressed. You need to be able to practice effectively and get clear accurate explanations about how the language works. You need to be able to test yourself to find out where you’re at, and see progress as you get better.

So this Thanksgiving, when the big sales are on, and everyone’s promising the moon, take a step back, think about exactly how you learn best, what you need to get the job done, and select a system that gives it to you.

Because the best spend of your money is on the one that works, not necessarily the cheapest one.

Happy Thanksgiving,

The Rocket Languages Team.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Olà, Nîhâo, and Salut Language Lovers,

Give thanks for language.It’s nearly Thanksgiving. Time to give thanks for all the things, past and present, that have made our lives what they are today. And one of the things that we probably all take for granted, but should certainly all be thankful for, is the gift of language.

Your own native language, whatever that may be, is your key connection to family, friends, and your local community. Luckily, most of us are raised to be able to communicate freely in whatever language it is that’s native to the area where we were born. But we don’t all stay near where we’re born.

It’s language that allows us to ask for the things that make our lives easier or better in one way or another. Language gives us the tools to share information that may help others. Language gives us recreational joy in the form of books, and drama, and songs, and conversation. Language allows us to express ourselves and our views to those that will listen, which is certainly good for us, if not always for them.

All in all language plays a huge part in how we perceive ourselves, how we are perceived, and the choices we make in our lives.

As children our lack of language skill is compensated for by the care our parents take of us until we’re able to express ourselves clearly. But what happens when you’re an adult in an environment where your language ability and knowledge is limited or nonexistent?

That’s the way it is for thousands of people around the world every day. People who are visiting foreign communities for vacation, for work, to see new things, or to get away from old ones. Just like a child in a world full of articulate adults, people trying to get by in environments where the language is foreign to them are at a distinct disadvantage. Even more so because they tend not to have a ‘grown-up’ looking after them.

That’s why it’s important to have some strategies in place to quickly assimilate the new language into your skill set as quickly as possible.

Here are some good tips:

  • Learning a language may seem like a giant and daunting prospect, so try breaking it down into small achievable goals. Determine to learn how to say and do one thing at a time. Before you know it one goal leads to another and you begin to grasp the new language.
  • Get yourself some good honest native speaking support. That means someone who will talk with you and give you good honest feedback about your efforts, including correcting you when you get it wrong.
  • Try different ways of learning. Watch foreign language films, read foreign language books and other material, speak with as many people as possible, listen to what people say when. With all enough varied input from native speakers your natural learning style will sort the stuff that works from the stuff that doesn’t.
  • Most of all, have fun. Because the fun times create positive associations in your brain and vastly enhance your learning.

So this thanksgiving give a little thought to language, your own and that of others around the world. Because you never know when you’ll find yourself in a position where your current language skills stop being as useful as they are right now.

Until next time,

The Rocket Languages team

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Hola, Salut, and Ciao Language Lovers,

Today I want to talk about two crucial aspects of language learning.

4084Language is one of those things that influences, and is influenced by, a wide range of things. It’s not enough to open a book, learn the rules, and have the sounds come out of your mouth. There’s a whole lot more than the words and phrases you hear and say that go into learning and understanding any language.

Language is a living thing that’s constantly growing and changing. As such it requires constant practice and use to keep it fresh and current. You know the old saying, ‘Use it or loose it’, well that couldn’t be more true than with language learning.

The best way to do that is to listen to and speak with native speakers. Another is to use technology like Rocket Record to match up the way you speak with the way it’s supposed to sound. But just how is it ‘supposed’ to sound?

One of the eternal criticisms of young people, no matter what culture they’re in, is that the new-fangled way they speak is ruining the language. These days it’s all ‘like’ and ‘innit’ and ‘yeah’ and ‘totally’. The fact is though, without young people, and people new to the culture, we wouldn’t have the language we have today.

Did you know that nearly 30% of the English language is actually derived from French!

That just goes to show you much things have changed in just a few hundred years. English certainly hasn’t always been spoken the way it is today. Imagine if we still spoke the way they do in Shakespeare’s plays! And yet some people say that the young of today are ruining the language. They forget that their parents said that about them once too, and their parents before them…

That’s how language develops, as a part of contemporary culture.

One of the best things you can do to help grow your language skills is to check out other aspects of the culture. Watch a movie in the language, even if you use the subtitles you’ll get a feeling for how the language works. Try cooking, or buying, food from the culture. Get out and talk to people who use the language as often as you can, or find away that you can speak out loud and get good accurate feedback.

Another great way to indirectly help your language development is to watch documentaries about the country in question. So, if Spanish is your thing, watch a doco about Spain or Latin America. There are two great benefits you’ll get. First you’ll get a better understanding of the culture. Second, you’ll be re-inspired to press on with your langauge learning.

So the two big take-aways here are:

  • Embrace change, because it’s going to happen anyway
  • Embrace cultures, because language is nothing without the culture that fosters it.

 

Happy language learning,

Phil.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS